2 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund
As a film about poverty, Being Flynn at least conveys the great field-leveling of a societal epidemic, placing newly laid-off businessmen alongside drunken, unshaved archetypes, and expressing the sad humility that's firmly tied to this very relevant problem. An adaptation of poet Nick Flynn's memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, which charts the author's social work, daddy issues, and addiction problems in 1980s Boston, Being Flynn largely focuses on Nick's estranged father, Jonathan Flynn (Robert De Niro), a typically delusional, curmudgeonly flake whose denial-laden pride is slowly chipped away as his failed-writer circumstances lead him to skid row. An apartment eviction begets sleeping in the cab that at some point paid the bills, and a car accident, in turn, begets sleeping on sidewalk vents. Soon enough, Jonathan is swallowing hard and tiptoeing into the local shelter, where Nick (Paul Dano) just happens to work. However transparent, the irrepressible grandeur of Jonathan's pathetically warped ego adds a sting of classic tragedy to his systematic downfall.